Needham bid to pull off cup upset

HOLDERS Needham Market take on Ipswich Town tonight in the semi-final of the LB Group Suffolk Premier Cup at Bloomfields (kick-off 7.45pm).Though a young-looking Town will start favourites to meet Lowestoft Town in the final at Portman Road, Ridgeons League Needham are showing their professional side as well.

Elvin King

HOLDERS Needham Market take on Ipswich Town tonight in the semi-final of the LB Group Suffolk Premier Cup at Bloomfields (kick-off 7.45pm).

Though a young-looking Town will start favourites to meet Lowestoft Town in the final at Portman Road, Ridgeons League Needham are showing their professional side as well.

The FA Vase quarter-finalists have a special sports scientist working closely with players to assess their hydration status and assess their individual sweat losses.


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Chris McManus, from the Lucozade Sport Science Team, will be working with Needham tonight and over the forthcoming weeks.

Needham manager Danny Laws said: “We are moving forward, and will benefit from expert advice regarding nutritional strategies and continued fitness testing.

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“Chris is one of nine specially-trained sports scientists working with clubs and visiting sporting events all over the country.

“His key role is to offer education and advice on how hydration and nutrition can give athletes an edge in their performance.”

While Laws' and Needham's status has been confirmed by the presence of McManus, the ex-Norwich City coach has set his sights on beating Ipswich and having another day out at Portman Road.

And he will be seeking revenge. “In my first season we played Ipswich in the quarter-final of the Premier Cup and in difficult conditions lost 3-0,” said Laws.

“We played well and, hopefully, tonight we can score a goal and give it a real go.

“It is a great prospect playing against full-time professionals and we are highly motivated to progress to the final.

“We will take heart from the fact that Lowestoft Town beat Ipswich in last year's competition but know we will have to be at our best. We have no false illusions on how hard the game will be.”

Ipswich include Canadian international Jaime Peters, former first-team regular Matt Richards and experienced striker Dean Bowditch in a squad that is mainly made up otherwise of youth team players. First-team player Moritz Volz, recovering from a groin operation, could be added to the squad.

Chris Kiwomya will manage the Town side and, following the departure of the redundant Richard Hall, is also now running the Academy team.

Following the recent changes at the Town training ground, and Sean Thacker's departure, Gerard Nash is now responsible for all school-age boys.

The winners of tonight's game will play Lowestoft Town in the final at Portman Road on Tuesday, April 28.

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